Monday, March 18, 2013

Once upon a dark & stormy Christmas night

It really was a dark and stormy night. The rains came down and the thunder boomed and the lightning crashed . . .all on Christmas night. The Harris family party is on Christmas night and we were actually wondering if it would be cancelled . . .for the first time EVER . . .but no, we just timed our arrival between tornadoes (not exactly but it felt like it!) 

I've been in the family for about 30 years now.  The first few years, the party was at Grandmother Harris's house in Homewood.  She was Mark's grandmother - his momma's momma!  Then after Grandmother died, the party has been rotated between Aunt Mary's house and my mother-in-law's house.  They are both aging much more quickly than any of us want to even think about . . . and so this year, Nancy had the party at her house because her momma just didn't need to try to host such a big evening.

The party has changed over the years.  The first year that I went, Grandmother Harris had a small stocking on her Christmas tree for every single person and there was money inside the stocking!!  We also exchanged presents with everyone . . .and I do mean everyone.  Uncle John always gave money or a gift to every child and every couple!!  To be honest, thinking back on it . . .it was a little intimidating . . . a little overwhelming.  In my family, we had pimento cheese sandwiches and probably deviled eggs (because we always had deviled eggs) and stuffed celery and pickles and other sides when we gathered on Christmas Eve (I think!! - I remember it being fun)  Our grandpa gave a bag of groceries to every family.  So . . .you can see, this was very different for me.

In Mark's family, the hostess would use her silver goblets and her fine china and cloth napkins and we had turkey & dressing and all the sides.  Even though I was overwhelmed at times, I loved all the beautiful things.  I loved the pretty table centerpieces and the party favors and the gifts and the food.  I loved the silver goblets and the fine china.  It was so beautiful!!!!

Over the years, we slowly moved toward paper products - paper plates (but we bought the Lenox paper plates that matched the Christmas china - they were quite lovely!!) and paper napkins but we still had the huge meal.  Nancy decided to change things up a little this year and it was nice - sort of refreshing!!!  She asked us all to bring an appetizer to share and we had lots of good food.  Quite a few years ago, we decided to draw names . . . maybe just among the children . . .and we did that for a few years.  Now we don't exchange gifts anymore.  We usually do "party favors."  I always help with that process.  That is fun to me.  We've done clay pots made like reindeer stuffed with candy and we've done cute santa pants with suspenders stuffed with candy (candy seems to be the main ingredient here!!)  One year, seems like we all brought stuff for Molly to make care packages for soldiers.  So . . .I guess you could say that the party is changing with the times!!

Here are a few pictures from the evening . . .lovely sisters - Charis and Miriam (Charis is going to college this fall - can't believe it and Miriam is now a United Methodist minister!!)

Lydia is the other sister.  All three of them are Nancy's girls.  I've always thought that Lydia and Laura could be sisters!!
Nancy's decorations were lovely.  Lauren and Glenn and Charis and Miriam and Aunt Mary were all watching the weather.  There were lots of tornado warnings!!
Here is a picture of my sweet boy and his sweet wifey!!

Mark and I rarely have our picture taken together and this one is actually pretty good!!

Sweet Nancy and I have been friends for over 30 years now.  Without Nancy, there would be no "Lisa & Mark."  We give thanks every day for Nancy and we pray for continued healing in her body!! 
Before the evening was over, I received a text message from my niece that my sister was on the way to the hospital in the ambulance. She had a massive blockage in her intestines and had to have surgery and she was in the hospital for about a week. I was glad that the doctor was able to "fix her up" and that she is feeling better now. It really was a dark & stormy night - I wasn't kidding!!

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